Will Sam Kerr play against Canada?
It’s the question on everybody’s lips after Thursday night’s 3-2 defeat to Nigeria put Australia’s World Cup dream on the brink.
Australia will likely need to beat Olympic champions Canada on Monday to progress out of the group stages – barring some rather unlikely results between Nigeria and Ireland in the other match.
On Wednesday, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said a decision on captain with the most talked about calf in Australian sport would be made only the day before the final group match.
After Thursday’s match, he said it could potentially a fitness test just hours before the Canada clash.
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“All I can say now is that I hope so,” he said, when asked – with the very first question of the press conference – if she would play on Monday night.
“I know it’s going to be tight. I said in a press conference yesterday … I most likely will not get the confirmation on that until the night before the game. And then we’ll go from there.
“It might even be (the case) where we need to test her to see if she can play on game day. That’s how tight it is, I know that, I can say already now so everyone knows what it’s like.
“I know we’re going to get questions from now all the way to the game, but I can say already now I’m not going to be able to tell you that until either the night before the game or on game day, because that’s how long we’ll have to wait to see if she’s available or not.”
Later in his press conference, he added: “Of course she will (insist on playing).
“That’s going to be her mindset and that’s what I love with Sam. She’s going to do anything she can to be out there, I know that.
“She wants to be out there and she deserves to be out there. If she can be out there, she will be out there.
“We just need to plan for 90 minutes together if she’s available. I’m saying if, now.
“We need to come up with a plan together with the staff, together with Sam to see what’s the best to maximise the potential minutes she has going into this game if she’s available.”
With a short turnaround to the final group game, he will also be sweating on the recovery of Aivi Luik and Mary Fowler, who both suffered concussions on Tuesday and missed Thursday night’s clash.
The other absentee has been attacker Kyah Simon, who has not played for club and country since an ACL tear in October, but was a shock selection for the 23-player squad despite Gustavsson revealing Simon would not be fit to participate until later in the tournament. She is unlikely to feature against Canada.
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